Blue Jays activate closer Francisco off DL

Blue Jays activate closer Francisco off DL

Blue Jays activate closer Francisco off DL
TORONTO -- Right-hander Frank Francisco was reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday, but it does not mean he will jump right into the closer's role that was projected to be his in Spring Training.

Manager John Farrell said that both Francisco and Jon Rauch, who has been serving as Toronto's closer, both will be used in late-inning situations.

Matchups could determine how each will be used.

"[Francisco will] be available late in the game," Farrell said before Tuesday's game against the Yankees. "Whether or not he closes, we've got options between he and Rauch to close. We're going to use both in most leverage situations we can. And where the best matchup exists, that could be the ninth, that could be the eighth inning."

So either Francisco or Rauch could close?

"Yes," said Farrell.

The Blue Jays are going with nine pitchers in the bullpen, as right-handed starter Jesse Litsch was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Francisco was put on the disabled list with a shoulder strain late in Spring Training. Francisco made five relief appearances in a rehabilitation assignment for Class A Dunedin, giving up six runs in five innings for a 10.80 ERA.

"We've got confidence in his strike-throwing ability. The power of his stuff is back," Farrell said. "He showed that on rehab, so we wouldn't necessarily hesitate to put him in a situation where again history has shown he has had success against individuals. So we're prepared to make those decisions as they arise."

"Everything is feeling good," Francisco said before the game. "I'm ready to go. I don't really care about velocity. I was throwing my fastball at like 94 [mph], and I think that's good enough to get anybody out. I believe in location and I believe if I put my fastball in the right spot, I'll be successful."

Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.